surfing in lisbon

Portugal has it all when it comes to surfing in Lisbon. I have enjoyed surfing at Costa da Caparica myself.

Still, many people do not know that Portugal holds the Guinness World Record for having the largest waves ever surfed.

Rodrigo Koxa, a Brazilian surfer, rode an 80-foot (24m) wave in November 2017 off the coast of Nazare.

Here, you can find every imaginable wave to enjoy a surf trip to Lisbon, and the best part is you can enjoy 300 sunny days in the year.

Surfing Season in Lisbon

Around Lisbon, you can enjoy surfing year-round on the many beautiful beaches open during summer.

Still, you find the waves better outside the summer months when the weather cools down for casual swimmers.

Hot Tip🔥: The best time for beginners is during the summer, between May and September, with fewer swells. Experienced surfers can enjoy surfing in Lisbon in late winter to early spring (September and April) to enjoy powerful swells.

Check out the table for surfing in Lisbon according to season:

Surfing Lisbon SeasonsWhere to Surf
Spring (March-May)Northern Portugal Porto/Matosinhos/Espinho
Summer (June-August)Algarve
Autumn (Sept-Nov)Peniche/Nazare/Ericeira
Winter (Dec-Feb)Algarve/Cascais

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Surfing in Lisbon: Beginner Surfers

Costa da Caparica

Costa da Caparica

A short trip south of Lisbon will bring you to this cherished retreat, Costa da Caparica. The surf spot is one of my favorite places to catch the waves; reaching it takes around 20 minutes.

Caparica is an excellent retreat for surfers and beginners, offering a great beach break. The 26-meter-long sandy white beach is ideal for surfing. The area is also divided by jetties surrounded by a food/bar scene.

Costa da Caparica is a charming town with several surf schools. For intermediate to advanced surfers, check out Cova do Vapor.

Hot Tip🔥: Praia da Rainha is a place I recommend for beginners in Costa da Caparica, as it does not wall up like the other surfing beaches to the north end. You can also head to Fonte da Telha, which has smaller waves.

Peniche

peniche surfing lisbon

Peniche offers south and north-facing coastlines and has more than 20 surfing beaches suitable for all levels.

The town hosts world-class surf competitions and is known as the European Pipeline. Here, you can find places with low to the biggest waves and many places to stay on your surf trip.

Peniche is a fantastic town with cafes, restaurants, and surf schools available.

Hot Tip🔥: Catinho da Baia is a popular spot for surf lessons and surfing for beginners. It offers different take-off points.

Once you are ready to level up your game, the waves will be smaller, closer to the shore, and more prominent.

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Guincho

Guincho Beach

On the western side of Lisbon, you find Guincho with barreling waves that draw seasoned surfers during winter, suitable for experienced surfers.

Still, you can find some excellent beginner surfing spots around the area. You will feel right at home with the low-medium tide as it has a stress-free sandy bottom with up to eight feet right-riders.

The best time for beginners is in the summertime as the water is smooth. Still, the beach can become windy and is also great for kiteboarding.

Estoril

Estoril is also great for beginners on a surf trip, as it has gentle waves and a quieter beach. Still, Estoril is suitable for diverse surfing in Lisbon, allowing each one to enjoy themselves. You can easily make a day trip traveling to Estoril by train from the city center.

Algarve

algarve surfing

Another great place to learn to surf is the Algarve, which has a consistent swell not affected by tides.

Here, I recommend visiting Amado around Aljezur, which has warmer waters. Then you have Praia do Amado, which has plenty of room for everyone to enjoy. At the same time, Arrifana offers you fun waves to surf at any level.

Still, it can get busy on a good swell day, but it’s worth it. The waves speed up at low tides, while high tides soften them.

Foz do Lizandro – Ericeira

One of the best spots to learn to surf is Foz do Lizandro. It is a beautiful beach with a sandy bottom and great breaks from low to mid-tide. It is an excellent place for a surf trip or surf lessons.

You can grab your surfboard to find a corner and enjoy a surf break throughout the seasons. No matter if it is to the left, close to the cliff in the center by the sandbank, or to the right of the reef.

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São Julião São Julião – Ericeira

If you are a first-time surfer and need consistent surf, head to São Julião São Julião near Ericeira beach town. Here, you can enjoy amazing waves and a fantastic beach.

The best time to surf is between low and mid-tide. It also has a sandy bottom, so you won’t have to worry about hitting rocky reefs.

Prai do Sol – Ericeira

It is another great beach for beginner to intermediate surfers. The long beach stretches for miles with a sandy bottom on both the left and right peaks. It is a fabulous beach with consistent waves where you can enjoy a surf break.

Porto

porto surfing

Around Porto, you can also find an excellent surf scene for beginners:

  • Praia da Torreira is 40 km from Porto and offers right and left-hand waves ideal for beginners. The beach break presents a punchy wave if you want to get to your feet fast.
  • Matosinhos is a short trip from Porto. Its mellow beach break is suitable for beginner and intermediate surfers all year round. Numerous surf camps are also located here.

Surfing in Lisbon: Intermediate Surfers

Carcavelos

Carcavelos is a surf mecca and one of the bustling Lisbon beaches. Here, you find a haven of sandy-bottom waves catering to the beginner, advanced, and intermediate surfer.

It is 15 minutes from the city center and a very lively beach with many surf schools. Here, you can find cylindrical left-rollers and shallow sandbars with crests that are six feet on average.

Praia da Poca

Praia-da-Gamboa-e-de-Pineche

Another great surfing spot in Lisbon is Praia da Poca.

Its rocky coast has powerful waves, and while it is not beginner-friendly, it is great for intermediate and advanced surfers.

The best time to surf is at mid-tide. Once the waves start going, the swells from the north winds form massive waves for experienced surfers as well.

Santa Amaro

If you are a beginner or intermediate surfer wanting to practice with fewer crowds, visit Santa Amaro. Here, you find ground and wind swells, which is even great during the winter. The best time to surf is during high tide, but watch out for the exposed rocks.

Praia Azul

For a great surf scene with consistent waves and beach break peaks, visit Praia Azul in Santa Cruz. It is halfway between Ericeira and Peniche. Here, you can always find waves to ride; still, the sandbars change often.

Surfing in Lisbon: Advanced to Experienced Surfers

Bafureira

Bafureira beach

Between Carcavelos and Guincho, you find a secret reef break with challenging hollow lefts made for advanced and experienced surfers.

It is a popular surf spot throughout the year. Driving from Lisbon’s center takes 30 minutes, making it a great day trip.

Enjoy the sparkling blue waters with many swells, which are the perfect relaxing place.

Praia Grande

You find Praia Grande, an extensive sand beach with hollow barrels and formidable walls for the experienced surfer north of Sintra.

The waves at Praia Grande are robust with spirited currents and great for surfing.

Another great spot in the Sintra vicinity is Praia das Maçãs, giving you consistent surf. Still, during winter, watch out for the strong winds.

Nazare

Journey from Lisbon to Nazaré

Nazare is definitely for experienced surfers as the waves reach 30 meters in height during autumn, and there are monster surf rides.

The big swells result from deep underwater canyon channels that hit straight up over the headlands, and they get going from October until April.

You can even catch some fast barrels on the main beach.

Hot Tip🔥: To learn more about getting to Nazare from Lisbon, check out my guide.

Praia do Norte

A bit further from Lisbon, you get Praia do Norte, which is also in Nazare and has the largest waves. Here, you have local winds, currents, and an underwater canyon. Hence, it results in perfect A-framed waves with an immense danger factor and adrenaline rush for experienced surfers.

Coxos – Ericeira

Coxo offers wild waves, and the breaks are furious and fast for advanced to experienced surfers. Also, take mental notes of your strategies before you start paddling.

Alternatively, you can head to Praia da Emap, which has a jagged cliff surrounding the beach. There is no sand insight, and you must look out for rocks. The best time to surf is at mid to high tides.

Sao Pedro

Sao Pedro is for beginner and advanced surfers, but the waves are chill and long. The surf comes from the southwestern swells; the best time to ride the waves is when the tide rises.

Cascais

Praia-da-Ribeira-de-Cascais

For a beach town with different surf spots, head to Cascais, a train ride from Lisbon. It is excellent for beginners with the flat waves during the summer, but you can pick it up during the winter to enjoy a faster surf ride.

Tips For Planning a Surfing Trip to Lisbon

Planning a trip to the Lisbon beaches with consistent waves is one of the best vacations ever. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Lisbon’s weather is tricky, but it helps you pack smart. Always mix your clothes and include a light jacket even in summer. Also, bring your wetsuit of 3/2mm for summer and 4/3mm for winter.
  • I recommend renting your board as you can find many surf shops around where you can rent wetsuits and boards.
  • Always check the wave and weather conditions at a local surf shop or online.
  • Another great thing is you can find exceptional surf hostels or camps close to the main surfing spots, like Costa da Caparica.

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Wrap-Up: Surfing in Lisbon

Whether you are a beginner or a skilled surfer, Lisbon beaches have something to offer and are the surf capitals.

You can explore the coastline to enjoy the waves or even partake in daily surf lessons if you are a beginner.

So, pack your bags and prepare for the best-ever surf holiday.

Frequently Asked Questions

Costa da Caparica is south of Lisbon, just a short drive or bus ride from the city center. It is renowned for its expansive coastline and reliable waves.

Costa da Caparica, Carcavelos, and Guincho are excellent options for a weekend surfing getaway because they are close to Lisbon and offer diverse wave conditions.

Summer is the best time for beginners to surf in Portugal, with warm weather and small waves from May to September. For advanced surfers, winter is ideal from November to February, with bigger and more powerful waves in the Atlantic.

Lisbon and Porto offer excellent surfing opportunities, but it ultimately depends on your preferences. Lisbon is known for its consistent waves and variety of surf spots, while Porto is renowned for its powerful and challenging waves. Lisbon might be more suitable for a beginner, whereas experienced surfers may prefer Porto for its more demanding conditions.

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